Despite all the benefits, unfortunately running doesn’t come without risks. It’s not uncommon for a runner to trip and fall, sustaining cuts, scrapes and sometimes even broken bones. And if you don’t wear the right shoes, more than likely you may develop blisters. However, the more common injuries are those that come from running itself.
The more we use our body, the more wear and tear it endures, and that wear sometimes manifests as injuries. Running injuries may occur depending on how often you run, how long you run or even with age as the susceptibility of injury is increased.
To help reduce the risk of running injuries Nabila Shaheen, Senior Podiatrist at Central FootClinic, has compiled the following advice.
- It is essential to carry out daily stretches as it improves and maintains flexibility, not only that but it will improve performance and prevent injuries
- It is recommended that stretching should be done after you warm up your muscles, in most cases 10 minutes of warm up should be enough
- One should never stretch in a hurry and all joints and extremities should be included. Ideally each stretch should be held in place for 30 seconds without bouncing
- Researchers have found it is helpful to include sports specific dynamic exercises like high knee drills, skipping, bouncing, arm circles, and cross body arm swings
- Strength training improves a runner’s body strength and overall athleticism. This type of training if carried out 2- 3 sessions per week reduces muscular fatigue that leads to poor performance and injuries
- Exercises with strength training should focus on all muscle groups including the trunk and upper and lower body.
- Increasing strength techniques include weight lifting, plymetrics and hill running
Warming Up and Cooling Down
- It is very important to warm up before any practices and competitions
- The faster the race or workout, the longer the warm up should be
- A warm up of 5 -10 minutes helps to flush out lactic acid build up in muscles and prevents delayed muscle soreness
Wearing the Right Shoes
- This is based on your foot type and your style of running as not all running shoes are made alike. Specialists in athletic footwear can help figure out which style is best for you
- Foot type is based on the structure and degree of pronation of the foot. Pronation is the normal inward rolling of the foot in running as it strikes the ground and transitions into pushing of. Injuries may arise due to abnormal pronation of the foot.
Gait Analysis and the Use of Orthotics
- Poor foot biomechanics such as heel strike, excessive pronation, or a very rigid or very flexible foot arch can lead to inefficiency and injuries
- Most runners prefer seeing an expert that can analyse their running gait and make orthotic inserts specific to your foot structure.
- Also an individual trained in running biomechanics can help detect flaws in your running form and show you how to correct them
- Since the quads, hamstrings and calves are responsible for propelling you forwards, they’re adequately strengthened through running. Other muscles like your abs and glutes, aren’t engaged whilst you run, but should be, therefore these are the ones that need attention.
- Abs and glutes are the muscles that provide a strong foundation for a strong pelvis, as almost all common overuse injuries are related to pelvic stability.
- Problems with your pelvis can cause muscular imbalances and tightness, which can lead to ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome), shin splints, lower back-pain and other muscular issues.
- Stabilizing the pelvis means your legs spin beneath you like wheels, your energy is directed forward and your stride is light, efficient and biomechanically correct.
For more advice on reducing the risk of running injuries, please contact Central FootClinic here
Nabila Shaheen, Senior Podiatrist at Central FootClinic